Businessman Tom Steyer officially qualified for the January debate slated to take place in Des Moines just weeks before the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses.
Steyer barely qualified in time before Friday’s deadline for Tuesday night’s debate, which will be the last primetime debate before the first votes are cast in the 2020 primary election.
The billionaire earned his spot on stage after new polls released this week show Steyer surging in the early contest states of South Carolina and Nevada. In South Carolina, a new Fox News poll placed Steyer in second place with 15 percent support. In Nevada, another Fox News poll showed Steyer tied with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren in third place at 12 percent.
Steyer will join five other candidates on stage including Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, and former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
To qualify for a podium in the last Democratic debate before the Iowa caucus, candidates had to show more than 225,000 unique donors in addition to meeting a higher polling threshold than previous debates. The Democratic National Committee required the candidates to score with at least 7 percent or higher in two polls conducted in the four early nomination states which include Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada, or hit 5 percent in four national surveys or early state polls.
The deadline to meet the DNC’s requirements was by the end of tonight. The debate will be hosted and moderated by CNN with the Des Moines Register at Drake University.
Steyer’s relatively late entrance into the race at the end of last summer has been bolstered by the billionaire dumping millions of his own money into the race, being outspent only by fellow billionaire and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. To date, Tom Steyer has already dropped $116 million on television ads dominating the airwaves with Bloomberg. The next largest spender on TV advertising is Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders who has only spent just under $12 million at this point in the race.
Bloomberg has spent more than $200 million on his campaign so far, according to ad-tracking firm Adverising Analytics.
— Advertising Analytics (@Ad_Analytics) January 10, 2020